Tragically Hip Farewell
Source: Mel Z / Rogers

There’s just something about The Tragically Hip.

The band has it’s own special recipe:

  • One part — Gord Downie
  • One part — Chill attitude
  • One part — Meaningful songwriting
  • One part — Canadiana that resides in those songs

The final and most rare ingredient in the Tragically Hip — is that the band is part of all of us.

I suppose that part explains some of the strong emotion around the fact that this band is retiring due to Gord Downie’s incurable brain cancer. And the fact that it’s just not fair.

We all process life events differently based on experiences and this reveals much of what we go through on a personal level.

Gord Downie
Source: Mel Z / Rogers

Over the decades that many of us have listened to the Tragically Hip on the radio, on a summer day on the deck, at concerts and festivals across the country, this band has just become part of our fabric. Their ability to embrace being Canadian AND being rock stars is something not often demonstrated. For this reason, I think the Hip are embedded in our identity as Canadians and in the Canadian music scene.

The Canadian attitude is to be quietly, politely…unassuming. In this, the band reflects it’s fans. But in bolder way, there has never been any mistaking them for an “American Band”…That is what is so truly…Tragically Hip.

Tragically Hip Farewell
Source: Mel Z / Rogers

So how do you say goodbye to a group of guys that felt like they were your brutally honest cousins…always up for a party, an intellectual discussion — and a big loud jam?

Nearly impossible. But Gord Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair, and drummer Johnny Fay managed to do so in the most fitting way in Victoria on July 22nd, 2016. They put on an amazing show. A loud, rocking, honest show. With all their closest friends, or the ones they could fit into the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena — 8,300 of them that had battled for seats to this final Tragically Hip show for the Man Machine Poem Tour.

The songs that you heard umpteen times took on a new meaning at this show. For me, after the first two songs I settled in to enjoy the amazing performance of Gord Downie and The Hip. But every now and then, the way Gord delivered a line in a song would knock me over. It’s Been A Long Time Running….chills. Wheat Kings — let’s just see what tomorrow brings…lump in the throat. What a powerful experience.

Tragically Hip Farewell
Source: Mel Z / Rogers

When it was time to finish, yes the music ended…but the songs will sing on forever. In our cars, on our way to the lake, on the radio and in our hearts.

It truly was a grand farewell from a band that walked with us for decades, reminding us all along just how awesome it is to be Canadian.

Thanks for that Gord & The Tragically Hip.

Mel Z – Midday Show 10am – 3pm on Ocean 98.5 

Filed under: Canada, Farewell Tour, Final Tour, Gord Downie, Man Machine Poem Tour, Save on Foods Memorial Centre, Tragically Hip, Victoria BC